Honoring David Carr: NYT starts fellowship reflecting his belief in young writers

Honoring David Carr: NYT starts fellowship reflecting his belief in young writers

The New York Times announced today that it’s launching a fellowship to honor the late media columnist David Carr, who passed away suddenly in February this year.

Applications are being accepted now until November 14, with an expected start date in early 2016.

Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times said that the aim of this fellowship is to honor Carr’s commitment to not only telling engaging stories, but mentoring young journalists as well.

David Carr was someone who had true faith in the future of this profession and if it wasn’t for him, I’m not sure I’d even be a journalist today.

When I was in college, I managed to blag a press pass to the Web Summit in Dublin, purely to see David Carr. He was there to speak on stage with Shane Smith from Vice; and while the two had a spat about the next generation of journalists, with Carr exclaiming “the smartest journalists ask the dumbest questions,” I took that as a cue to chance my arm and ask him for an interview.

I never expected to hear from him, but I did. Immediately after he came off stage, he called me and invited me to the speakers room so I could interview him.

I had never interviewed anyone before, his interview actually ended up being the first assignment I submitted for my MA in Journalism, which I subsequently left after being offered a dream role off the back of that tweet.

Possibly because I was so inexperienced and naive, I didn’t go there prepared or to dig for anything in particular and within a few minutes, the conversation felt like I was talking to an old friend as then and there, he became a mentor to me too.

I feel extremely lucky to have had the encouragement of someone so experienced in life, as well as writing. Over the next two years, we kept in touch and he advised me on some tough decisions and little ones too. Nothing was ever too small and he always made the time to respond.

The advice he gave me that day and afterwards has been instrumental in how I have conducted myself throughout my career so far, and will continue to be for as long as I work.

In a turn of bittersweet events, I never got to tell him when I finally got the job I was aiming for – this one – as he passed away on the day I finished up in my previous role.

It didn’t matter to Carr that I wasn’t in New York or an accomplished reporter, he made the time for young, aspiring journalists because he saw the importance of nurturing talent for the future of the industry.

As an extension of that, The New York Times says the successful Fellow will spend two years in its newsroom working the media desk where he or she will cover “the intersection of technology, media and culture.”

As for a new media columnist, nobody has been hired to take over from David Carr as of yet. His column, which ran in the business section every Monday, was hugely popular so whoever does take on the role has some big shoes to fill, but I’m sure Carr will be supporting them from above.

➤ The Times Announces a Fellowship Named for David Carr

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